This resource was written by David Neyhart and Erin Karper. Additional material by Kristen Seas & Tony Russell.
Last full revision by Jodi Wagner, Kristen Seas, Tony Russell, and Elizabeth Angeli..
Last edited by Allen Brizee on February 17th 2009 at 12:09PM.
Summary: APA (American Psychological Association) is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 5th editionof the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in APA. General Format
General APA Guidelines
Your essay should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11") with 1" margins on all sides. You should use 10-12 pt. Times New Roman font or a similar font.
Include a page header in the upper right-hand of every page. To create a page header, type the first 2-3 words of the title of the paper, insert five spaces, then give the page number.
Major Paper Sections
Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
Your title page should already include the page header (described above). On the first line of the title page flush-left, add a running head. Begin the running head with the words “Running Head” followed by a colon. Then give an abbreviated title of your paper in 50 characters or less in all caps. Note: Remember that the page header will appear on every page of your paper, whereas the running head will only appear on your title page.
In the upper half of the title page, type your full title, your byline (name[s]), and affiliation (university, etc.) centered on separate lines. Your title may take up one or two lines as in the example below:
Image Caption: APA Title Page
Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (described above). On the first line of the abstract page, center the word “Abstract” (otherwise unformatted, no bold, italics, underlining, or quotation marks).
Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) The abstract should be a single paragraph double-spaced of less than 120 words.
Image Caption: Sample APA Abstract
Please see our Additional Resources page for examples of APA papers.
Cite the Purdue OWL in APA:
Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) (Last edited date available in the gray box at the top of the resource). Title of resource. Retrieved month day, year, from http://Web address for OWL resource
In-Text Citations: The Basics
Reference citations in text are covered on pages 207-214 of the Publication Manual. What follows are some general guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay.
Note: APA style requires authors to use the past tense or present perfect tense when using signal phrases to describe earlier research. E.g., Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has found...
APA Citation Basics
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, E.g., (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference.
In-Text Citation Capitalization, Quotes, and Italics/Underlining
Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change. Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: Writing New Media, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
(Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media.)
When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: Natural-Born Cyborgs.
Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's Vertigo."
Italicize or underline the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, or albums: The Closing of the American Mind; The Wizard of Oz; Friends.
Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited collections, television series episodes, and song titles: "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds"; "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."
If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.
According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199). Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers? If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation. She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style," (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.
Place direct quotations longer than 40 words in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented five spaces from the left margin. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation five spaces from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.
Jones's (1998) study found the following:
Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)
Summary or Paraphrase
If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.)
According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).
In-Text Citations: Author/Authors
APA style has a series of important rules on using author names as part of the author-date system. There are additional rules for citing indirect sources, electronic sources, and sources without page numbers.
A Work by Two Authors: Name both authors in the signal phrase or in the parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in the parentheses.
Research by Wegener and Petty (1994) supports...
(Wegener & Petty, 1994)
A Work by Three to Five Authors: List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source.
(Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993)
In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
(Kernis et al., 1993)
In et al., et should not be followed by a period.
Six or More Authors: Use the first author's name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
Harris et al. (2001) argued...
(Harris et al., 2001)
Unknown Author: If the work does not have an author, cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized or underlined; titles of articles and chapters are in quotation marks.
A similar study was done of students learning to format research papers ("Using APA," 2001).
Note: In the rare case the "Anonymous" is used for the author, treat it as the author's name (Anonymous, 2001). In the reference list, use the name Anonymous as the author.